Volvo Planning Driveline Architectures All To Be Plug-in Hybrid Capable; Considering a Range-Extended Electric-Drive Architecture in the Future
|The V70 plug-in hybrid demonstrator highlights Volvo’s current PHEV architecture: front-wheel drive combustion engine, electric motor on the rear axle. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo is planning all its future driveline architectures with the ability to accommodate a rear-axle electric motor and battery for enabling a plug-in hybrid option, according to Paul Gustavsson, Volvo’s Vice President Business Development and Electrification Strategy.
Volvo’s current plug-in architecture of choice is shown on its V70 diesel PHEV prototypes: combining a front-wheel drive engine (diesel initially) with an axle-integrated rear-wheel drive electric motor, powered, in the case of the V70 PHEV, by an 11.3 kWh Li-ion battery pack (8 kWh is usable) under the trunk floor. (Earlier post.)
The V70 diesel PHEV is projected to support up to a 50 km (31 mile) all-electric range—sufficient to cover the daily transport needs of 75% of European drivers. Carbon dioxide emissions will average out at 49 g/km, with fuel consumption of 1.9 liters per 100 km (124 mpg US), according to the NEDC certification driving cycle.
Green Car Congress spoke with Gustavsson on the phone following Volvo’s affirmation at the Paris Motor Show that it would introduce a series-produced plug-in hybrid diesel as early as 2012. (Earlier post.)
|Volvo concept of a range-extended architecture. Click to enlarge.|
Gustavsson said that in the medium- to long-term, Volvo would consider a series hybrid architecture—i.e., a purely electric drive vehicle with a small range-extending ICE.
The plug-in hybrid is a perfect bridge to an electric society. We think that [a range-extended electric vehicle] would be an alternative in the long term, if we have a bridge. Plug-in hybrids are expensive—they’re a combination of two expensive drive trains. But that’s a bridge to get used to electrification, to get away from range anxiety.
The next step would be [around] 2016, 2017, 2018. We will still have a range limitation with battery cars. But we would avoid that if we put in a small range extender, say a 1-cylinder, 15 hp (11 kW) engine, very small, or a fuel cell. We think it’s probably long term the most interesting.
But it is at such an early stage. What we do right now is try to listen. We have our hands full to deliver a plug-in hybrid and a battery car [the electric C30].—Paul Gustavsson
Based on the NEDC cycle, CO2 emissions from Volvo’s V70 plug-in diesel hybrid will average out at 49 grams per kilometer, with fuel consumption of 1.9 liters per 100 km (124 mpg US), according to Volvo. The diesel engine—optimized to run on renewable synthetic diesel and complying with future exhaust emission requirements—can be run separately or in combination with the electric motor for optimal power and energy utilization.
Volvo plans to launch its PHEVs in all markets, including the US, and is working to develop a gasoline-engined PHEV to that end. The company is also evaluating the introduction of diesel-engined PHEVs into the US market, although the cost to meet US emissions requirements is a challenge, Gustavsson said.
Another cost-related challenge facing PHEV and EV introduction, Gustavsson said, is government support, which is “absolutely critical” in the beginning.
A lot of countries are hesitating in the budget. It is a mixed picture. In some markets, they withdraw from earlier promises; some markets increase, like Sweden. It’s a mixed picture.—Paul Gustavsson